Singer-songwriter Scott Gilbert harnesses the power and beauty of the sea in his long-awaited album, The Distance
Seafarer and singer-songwriter, Scott Gilbert has harnessed the power and passion of the sea, as well as his home province for his sophomore record The Distance.
Recorded at Rock Island Studios in Green Harbour, The Distance is a proverbial hybrid of classic rock, sharp blues licks and cutting, close to home lyrics thrown down with all the grit and determination that the man himself can muster.
Gilbert sat down with The Herald for a deep dive into The Distance in our latest album deep dive!
The Distance: Written at sea. At the time I was reflecting on my shipmate’s separation from his wife, which made me reflect on my own parents’ separation when I was a teenager. That’s where the line comes from, “As we survey the wreckage in our kitchen before the dawn. All is quiet, uneasy peace now, how can we save, what’s already gone.”
I remember sitting on the kitchen counter witnessing the end of a relationship, but the song is really about any relationship that withers away. Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder … sometimes The Distance is too great.
Ramona & Johnny: Sitting around on the ship one evening talking about music, The Ramones in fact, and the name Ramona came up. I thought it was cool name that I could incorporate into a lyric so I wrote it down and started to form the St. John’s story of Ramona and Johnny.
Two townies that were perfect for each other but never gave love a chance. One of my favourite lyrics on the album: “They exchanged sacrificial numbers, not knowing if the other would call.”
Not Here to Tell You: A song about Hobo Bill … well sort of. He was the inspiration for the song, but as a sailor you visit many countries and harbour fronts and there are many people who may be down on their luck just looking for a helping hand.
People just pass them by daily and they sit in silence minding their own business. Not there to tell you their problems, not there to burden you with their pain. It’s a song about compassion and looking at the other side of things.
Soak Through my Skin: Straight up love song. Again, as a sailor, we spend time in the worst kinds of weather and at times we can be soaked through the skin with rain and or seawater! Wouldn’t it be nice to have somebody in your life that actually soaked through your skin? Who became a part of you and loved you so deeply? “Ive never known love, but I ‘ll take the chance ‘cause you’ve got me so convinced. Like rain, blown by the wind, you soak through my skin.” I love this lyric.
Night Like This: Party song, no deep meaning. Reach way back into my memories and recall being so afraid to talk to girls in a bar. What do you say? Do I look ok? Getting the courage up to actually ask for a dance or can I buy her a drink? You give anything just for her to respond in a good way … instead, nothing! Crash and burn!
Forget About The Sea: This is really a sailor’s song. Every sailor wants to forget about the sea when they walk down that gangway. To run across that pier and hug your family is an amazing thing. For me, Newfoundland is home and when the light at Cape Spear comes into view … I’m almost home and it’s the greatest feeling in the world sailing in through the narrows.
Find Yourself: A song about addiction and finding your way back. I’ve never really been addicted to anything that had me in a place like the character in the song, but I can imagine it’s a hard hole to crawl out of. “Help me, help you, find yourself” … with a lot of love and understanding I believe anything can be done.
Better Off Alone: This is also a song about finding yourself while you are in the middle of a crisis in your life. Sometimes it seems as if everybody is pulling you in different directions. Wanting you to do things that just aren’t right for you.
Sometimes you need to take a break from all of that and let change be your guide. Sometimes you need to be alone to get to the next chapter in your life.
I wrote this in 2016, but reading the lyrics today … it definitely could be a COVID Anthem!!! “Hard to breathe, better off alone”…. oh yeah!!
Winds Of February: As a seafarer and a songwriter, I am most proud of the lyrics in this song. This is a true story. This is a sad story and this is my best writing I think.
We were finished recording my debut album at the time, but when I returned home I decided to record this one acoustically and get it on there.
When we started jamming it with the band it took on a Tragically Hip feel with a touch of Pink Floyd at the end.
The song is so powerful that I felt we should release it again with the full band.